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World News

Argentine leader Alberto Fernandez says he tests positive for the coronavirus

Argentina's President Alberto Fernandez attends the National Flag Day event at the Museum of the National Flag in Iguala, Guerrero State, Mexico February 24, 2021. REUTERS/Henry Romero

BUENOS AIRES (Reuters) -Argentine President Alberto Fernandez has tested positive for the new coronavirus and is in good spirits despite a light fever, the first-term Peronist leader said on Saturday.

“I am in good physical condition,” the president, who turned 62 on Friday, said in a tweet. He had received Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine against the coronavirus early this year.

“I would have liked to end my birthday without this news, but I am in good spirits,” Fernandez added.

He is in isolation, under COVID-19 protocols, but remains on the job. Argentina’s vice president is the country’s former leader, Cristina Fernandez, who is no relation to the president.

Russia’s Gamaleya Institute, which developed the vaccine, issued an open statement to Alberto Fernandez, saying that Sputnik V is 91.6% effective against infection and 100% effective against severe coronavirus cases.

“If the infection is confirmed, the vaccination ensures quick recovery without severe symptoms. We wish you a quick recovery!” it said.

Argentina has been on a lockdown of varying degrees for more than a year against the pandemic. COVID-19 has killed more than 56,000 people in the country to date. Some 682,868 Argentines have been fully vaccinated so far, with older people and healthcare workers getting priority, the government says.

Reporting by Eliana Raszewski and Hugh Bronstein in Buenos AiresEditing by William Mallard and Matthew Lewis

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